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Family Manual Fact Sheet – SNAP: Financial Assistance for Food

Family Manual Fact Sheet – SNAP: Financial Assistance for Food


What is SNAP?  SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It was formerly known as food stamps. SNAP benefits help low income individuals and families buy food. SNAP is a program of the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, administered in Illinois by the Department of Human Services.

Who Qualifies for SNAP?  The rules for SNAP eligibility are complex and most are not listed here.  Two of the most important factors are

  • Income and expenses
  • Number of persons who live and eat together (referred to as a SNAP unit)

A household might be eligible to receive SNAP benefits if their monthly gross income does not exceed the gross income limits shown below.


Age 60 & Over or Disabled Households

Household Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Gross Monthly Income Limit (For those Age 60 or older OR Disabled) $1,805 $2,428 $3,052 $3,675 $4,298 $4,922 $5,545 $6,168


The monthly SNAP Benefit amount depends on the number of people in the “SNAP unit” and the monthly income available to meet needs after subtracting the allowable deductions (such as rent and utilities) from gross income. The chart below shows the highest monthly benefit by household size.  Depending on income, this amount could be less.


Unit Size 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Maximum Benefit $200 $367 $526 $668 $793 $952 $1,052 $1,202


How to Apply?  You can apply for SNAP online at or at your local Family Community Resource Center.  The DHS Help Line number is 1-800-843-6154. There is also a SNAP Eligibility Calculator on the DHS website at to help you determine if you might be eligible for SNAP benefits. For those who qualify and are in need of immediate help, Emergency SNAP benefits can be available in 5 days from application.


SNAP benefits are provided on the Illinois Link Card. This is an electronic card, similar to a bank or credit card, that is accepted at most grocery stores. There are rules about the items that can be purchased with SNAP benefits.

The following link is to a listing of Illinois food pantries that may be able to assist you temporarily while you are applying for SNAP benefits:  You may also contact your municipality to inquire about local food pantries and social services.  Feeding Illinois can be reached at 773-843-5425.